Game Report 14/04/2018 | JCU Vs Mudcrabs | A-Grade

Mariners won their opening game of the 2018 season 26 – 14.

In a season expected to be very competitive for the top four places, it was important that we started with a win. Mudcrabs had beaten us two tries to one in a pre-season scratch match over 30 minutes a few weeks ago, and as we were going into the game with 6 players untested either at this level or playing in positions they had never played in, the outcome was uncertain.

We were up 14 – 7 on the score board but were not able to take advantage of the wind at our backs as we were down 12 -2 in the penalty count at half-time. Talk about our support play and the break-down during half-time, saw us gradually get on top and score two more tries, one from a set move off a line-out, to their one which came from a dropped ball mistake.

We retained all our possession from lineout and scrum. General play can improve a lot by sticking to the basics, such as draw and pass. It was unfortunate that two clean line breaks in the backs were dubiously ruled as forward passes, whilst a third, this time in the forwards, probably was lacking timing after running perfect lines.

For the despatches, mention should be made of Brad Manoi, normally an outside back playing at five-eighth for the first time, and only after 3 or 4 training runs. He executed the organisational role well, never failed to find touch, and passed the ball every time he got his hands on it – defying the nick name “glue hands” from last year. Rob Rodokal brought his maturity and versatility to the game to our advantage, playing full-back, half-back, and five-eighth as needed. Christian Aruha and Suma Nona although playing together for the first time, very pleasingly combined well in both attack and defence in the centres.

All forwards gave their usual honest performance and proved the adage “win the game in the forwards and you win the game”. Bryce Stanley, our own “nobody”, landed 3 from 4 conversions, and took out the referee’s 3 points, in a split decision with Liam Duncan. Both Liam and newbie second rower, Jesse Kautu had responded well to requests for more physicality, especially with ball in hand. Scott Winkworth, playing the whole game at loose head prop, had put in a rugged off season and showed the result in a much improved work rate, even being there to make the last tackle of the game on the side line.

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